Dealing with Property Encroachments

Buying a new home is supposed to be one of the most exciting times in your life! However, while walking the property line you notice that the neighbors fence goes right through your lot... Unfortunately, this is an issue that could potentially become a major problem in the future if you try to claim back what's rightfully yours. After all, nobody wants to be THAT neighbor... but if you're paying for it, you should get what's rightfully yours. Arrowhead Title runs into these problems regularly and wants to help you prepare for these types of surprises BEFORE you close the deal. Take a look at what a property encroachment can mean for your investment and how we can help.

What Is A Property Encroachment?

A property encroachment is exactly what its name implies - it occurs when your neighbor encroaches on your property. Typically, this happens when your neighbor's fence, storage shed, landscaping, pool, and/or section(s) of their house cross over the property line and officially take up part of your legal property.

Encroachments are different than easements. Easements give someone legal right to use property that belongs to someone else. They are agreed-upon by both parties and may involve financial compensation for the right to use someone else's property. Easements are legal documents and typically remain in effect even if property ownership transfers to someone else. Encroachments, on the other hand, are not mutually agreed-upon and do not have legal rights.

If your neighbor builds a structure that is partially on your property, you will have the opportunity to do something about it. If a neighbor has already encroached upon property that you're in the process of buying, you may or may not be able to fix the issue. There are several factors that can influence whether or not you are able to demand the structure be removed.

What Can I Do If There Is A Property Encroachment?

If your neighbor encroaches on property you already own, the best thing you can do is speak to your neighbor directly and attempt to resolve things cooperatively. You can take the issue to court, but we recommend only doing so when you are unable to reach a solution on your own. Fighting property encroachments in court results in expensive legal fees and often (understandably) creates a great deal of animosity among neighbors.

If you are buying a home and discover that one of your soon-to-be neighbors already has a structure that encroaches on your property, you might be able to require them to move it - or you might not. Depending on how many years your new neighbor has been encroaching on the land, he/she may actually be able to qualify for adverse possession. Adverse possession is a right given to trespassers who use or occupy land that is not their own for a number of years that allows them to continue to use or occupy the property.

A Title Search Can Identify Property Encroachments

Obviously, discovering existing encroachments on property you have already purchased can be an unpleasant and unwelcome surprise. You can help avoid this unfortunate situation by ordering a professional title search before you purchase the land. A title search and title insurance at the Lake of the Ozarks is your number one defense against encroachments and other hazards, such as outstanding liens or unauthorized signatures on the sale of the home.

So before you finalize on that home purchase, let the best title insurance company at the Lake of the Ozarks make sure your investment is free and clear of any encroachments, etc. We want to provide you with dynamic solutions to all aspects of your real estate transaction - from professional, accurate title services which protect your investment to escrow and settlement services which handle your funds with utmost integrity. Contact Arrowhead Title at 573-302-1950!

The Lake of the Ozarks' Most Trusted Title Company
Where Accuracy Matters!

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750 Bagnell Dam Blvd Suite B
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


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